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Bangkok's Big Buddha joins Asia's giants

From Thailand to China, giant religious images bring devotees and tourists

The head of the giant Buddha image at Bangkok's Wat Paknam Phasi Charoen Temple. Construction began in 2017, with costs reaching the equivalent of about $3.3 million. (Courtesy of Wat Paknam Phasi Charoen)

BANGKOK -- Deep in a network of canals in the oldest part of Thailand's capital city stands a newly completed giant clad in glowing bronze. Towering nearly 70 meters above the ground, the height of a 20-story building, it is the city's biggest Buddha image, with a width of 40 meters in its cross-legged meditation posture.

The image, built since 2017 at a cost of 100 million baht ($3.3 million), looms over the Klong Dan waterway at Wat Paknam Phasi Charoen, a temple founded in 1610. Named Dhammakaya Dhepmongkol, it is the most ambitious recent project of its kind in the country, reflecting Thailand's continuing reverence for Buddha images.

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